Headlines: DHS – B-1 (TWIC) visa established; USCG – State of the Coast Guard and Commandant’s Direction; USCG – hull identification numbers for recreational vessels; FMC – meeting; CBP – annual trade symposium; NOAA – OTEC website launched; House – bill introduced to establish trade corridor fee; House – bill introduced to provide certain port authorities; Alaska – Kenai LNG export facility to close; New York – ballast water requirement to be delayed; and Panama Canal – January operations summary.
February 11, 2011
Bryant’s Maritime Blog
Bryant’s Maritime Consulting - 4845 SW 91st Way - Gainesville, FL 32608-8135 - USA
Note: This blog is one section of the Bryant’s Maritime Consulting website. Visit the site for more extensive maritime regulatory information. Individual concerns may be addressed by retaining Dennis Bryant directly. Much of the highlighted text in this newsletter constitutes links to Internet sites providing more detailed information. Links on this page may be in PDF format, requiring use of Adobe Acrobat Reader. Comments on these postings are encouraged and may be made by clicking the envelope that appears at the end of each posting. Be aware that the daily blog entry is a single posting, even though it contains a number of individual items. Remembering the future.
DHS – B-1 (TWIC) visa established
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a news release stating that it and the Department of State have established an annotated version of the B-1 visa that will make foreign maritime workers eligible to apply for a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC). As explained in an accompanying USCG Guide, the specialized visa is intended for foreign national who perform maritime services in the United States and require access to secure areas of facilities and vessels for a significant duration (e.g., one year). An individual who meets the DOS B-1 eligibility requirements and has a valid letter from their employer will receive a B-1 visa with the annotation “TWIC letter received”. This annotated visa will allow the individual to apply for a TWIC in the United States. The Coast Guard also posted a sample employer letter. (2/9/11). Note: This new visa responds to complaints of many foreign shipping companies that their port captains and other personnel (many of whom are foreign nationals) have found it almost impossible to obtain the TWICs necessary for access to facilities in the United States where their ships call. Ship owners regularly inspect facilities to ensure that they are suitable for calls by their vessels and to make detailed arrangements. The new visa may also be available to foreign nationals working on some facilities on the outer continental shelf.
USCG – State of the Coast Guard and Commandant’s Direction
The US Coast Guard issued a news release reporting that Admiral Bob Papp delivered the annual State of the Coast Guard Address. He noted that, while the service is ready to meet its mission demands, it faces real challenges, particularly with regard to the budget. Admiral Papp almost released the Commandant’s Direction, containing four priorities: (1) Sustaining Mission Excellence; (2) Recapitalizing and Building Capacity; (3) Enhancing Crisis Response and Management; and (4) Preparing for the Future. (2/10/11).
USCG – hull identification numbers for recreational vessels
The US Coast Guard issued a notice stating that it has decided to not initiate a rulemaking addressing an expanded hull identification number (HIN) for recreational vessels. In making this decision, the Coast Guard considered comments submitted on the costs and benefits of expanding the existing 12-character HIN in order to provide additional information identifying vessels. 76 Fed. Reg. 7757 (February 11, 2011).
FMC – meeting
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued a notice stating that it will meet in open session at its office in Washington, DC on February 16 to consider the following matters: (1) initiative to modernize the Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure; (2) Initiative to review Commission regulations consistent with EO 13563: Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review; and (3) MVOCC negotiated rate arrangements: consideration of draft final rule. 76 Fed. Reg. 7849 (February 11, 2011).
CBP – annual trade symposium
The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a notice stating that its annual trade symposium “Working Together to Strengthen Economic Competitiveness” will be held in Washington, DC on April 13-14. 76 Fed. Reg. 7873 (February 11, 2011).
NOAA – OTEC website launched
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a news release stating that it has launched a website containing information for industries interested in developing Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) capability in the United States. OTEC produces renewable energy by using temperature differences between deep cold water and warm surface water to power a turbine to generate electricity. (2/10/11).
House – bill introduced to establish trade corridor fee
Representative Calvert (R-CA) introduced the Our Nation’s Trade, Infrastructure, Mobility, and Efficiency Act or “ON TIME Act” (H.R. 526) to direct the Secretary of Transportation to establish and collect a fee based on the fair market value of articles imported into the United States and articles exported from the United States in commerce and to use amounts collected from the fee to make grants to carry out certain transportation projects in the transportation trade corridors for which the fee is collected, and for other purposes. (2/8/11).
House – bill introduced to provide certain port authorities
Representative Nadler (-NY) introduced a bill (H.R. 572) to amend title 49, United States Code, to provide certain port authorities, and for other purposes. Official text of the bill has not yet been posted. (2/9/11).
Alaska – Kenai LNG export facility to close
Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) issued a press release stating that ConocoPhillips is shutting its Kenai liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility. The company plans to continue producing natural gas at its two Cook Inlet fields to supply the Alaska market. (2/10/11). Note: This facility has been exporting LNG, mostly to Japan, for over 40 years.
New York – ballast water requirement to be delayed
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) issued a notification letter to ship owners and operators stating that it is delaying, until midnight, August 1, 2013, implementation of Condition 2 of New York’s Clean Water Act 401 Water Quality Certification (WQC) to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Vessel General Permit (VGP). Although there is some confusing language regarding certain specifics, the NYSDEC seems to agree with the ship owners and operators that there is a shortage in supply of the technology necessary to meet the limits set forth in Condition 2. (2/7/11). Note: The State of Wisconsin has already backtracked on its ballast water discharge standards. The State of California has expressed concerns that it may have to extend its deadlines due to lack of appropriate technology on the market. Now, the State of New York is expressing misgivings. It is time for the US Coast Guard to promulgate its final rule formally adopting and endorsing (for the present) the IMO ballast water standard.
Panama Canal – January operations summary
The Panama Canal Authority issued an advisory summarizing operations during January 2011. It also provides the schedule of locks maintenance work for the remainder of the fiscal year. Advisory 02-2011 (2/8/11).
If you have questions regarding the above items, please contact the editor:
Dennis L. Bryant
Bryant’s Maritime Consulting
4845 SW 91st Way
Gainesville, FL 32608-8135
© Dennis L. Bryant – February 2011